11th November – A-Z of Ayodhya Conflict

Ayodhya – In Faizabad district, Awadh, famous for its sunsets by the banks of the River Saryu. Its rich history and symbolism finds space in the writings of Tulsidas and Amir Khusrau. Buddha is said to have preached here. Jainism and Sikhism too have their imprint here. The Hindu-Muslim binary of the last century has, however, left little space for this history — and the identity of Ayodhya has been limited to its being the ground zero of the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.

Babri Masjid: The three-domed mosque that Mir Baqi built in the name of Emperor Babur, in 1528 in the Jaunpuri style, has been at the centre of the dispute. Many on the Mandir side believe that the birthplace of Lord Ram was exactly at the spot on which the Babri Masjid stood until December 6, 1992. The Supreme Court concluded that the masjid was built over a structure which was “non-Islamic”.

Demolition: At the time the Babri Masjid was demolished, UP had a BJP government, and P V Narasimha Rao of the Congress headed the government at the Centre. On Pages 913-14, the judgment says: “The destruction of the mosque took place in breach of the order of status quo and an assurance given to this Court. The destruction of the mosque and the obliteration of the Islamic structure was an egregious violation of the rule of law.”

History: The story of the Babri Masjid spans nearly 500 years, beginning with Babur and ending in the country’s highest court. India’s longest-running major title dispute has turned out to be both historic and historical — releasing medieval passions among large sections of the population, making and unmaking governments, and putting to test founding principles of the modern Indian republic. Much of the order is about historical facts and interpretation.

Land: At the heart of the title dispute were 2.77 acres of land. The judgment begins with the mention of “a dispute between two religious communities both of whom claim ownership over a piece of land admeasuring 1,500 square yards in the town of Ayodhya”. The disputed land has been granted to the Hindus for the construction of the temple. The Sunni Central Waqf Board has been given 5 acres.

Question: The Supreme Court pronounced judgment on appeals against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment that ordered a three-way division of the disputed land. The HC had considered questions on broadly eight issues, including who had the possession and title, whether the outer courtyard included Ram Chabutra and Sita Rasoi, and whether the mosque had been built on the site of an ancient Hindu temple. The Supreme Court heard arguments on broadly the same questions.

Trust: The court has directed the Centre to formulate within three months a scheme to set up a “Trust with a Board of Trustees or any other appropriate body” under The Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act, 1993, with powers “including the construction of a temple”. The court has used its powers under Article 142 to direct that “appropriate representation may be given in the Trust… to the Nirmohi Akhara”.

SourceThe Indian Express

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